Someday when I'm not up to my ojos in Spanish poetry and other schoolwork, I'll actually write about all our amazing adventures Africa. Until then, look at this pretty picture of a leopard taken by my mother on safari.
In case you haven't noticed, THE SKY IS FALLING. Yeah, I totally thought those meteorologist guys were just messing with us when they were all "20-30 inches of snow!" but if you look outside (if you're somewhere cerca the Northeast) you can see they were not entirely wrong. Luckily I stocked up on the essentials before the storm hit. I've been living off of Mountain Dew and Nutella for the last three days. I'm almost out of Dew, but fortunately the snow here seems to be starting to melt. Which is good because I live on the third floor of our MC-Escher-esque building and the stairs are ice-covered death traps. The packed snow has made the stairs less stair-like and more of a slippery incline of death. The plus side of all this: We didn't have classes on Friday! IT'S A WINTER MIRACLE! Totally worth three days of Nutella sandwiches and wet socks.
Which brings me to the last time we had an excessive amount of snow... I was home for Winter Break (ah, those were the days...) and working at the bookstore. It had snowed a good deal the night before, and I was trudging my way through it on my way to work. As I went to cross the street, I stepped over the one square foot of visible grass on the whole block. I looked down and noticed a brown ball that I had almost stepped on. Upon closer inspection I realized that it was THE CUTEST MOUSE IN THE HISTORY OF NATURE. He was curled up in a little fur-ball trying to keep warm. He looked so hungry and lonely, I couldn't help but imagine the rest of his family trapped in their mouse home underground wondering "Where's Louie?" (That's his name- but I'll get to that later.) He obviously wasn't going to be able to get back to them any time soon what with the six inches of snow on the ground. And what would he eat? The poor little guy.
I spent the next few minutes contemplating what to do about this adorable, freezing woodland creature. Considering my family already has a rabbit that we hate (and I mean that in the best way... It's just that she's TEN YEARS OLD and we had kind of hoped she'd be dead by now), I didn't think my mom and dad would be very pleased if I brought home a potentially-rabid rodent. Nonetheless, I couldn't just leave him there, so I scooped him up with my gloves (he was so cold he didn't even move, let alone run away from me) and brought him back home.
My brother and I made him a temporary home out of a box and fed him some tasty treats (AKA orange peels and almonds) until my mom got home. She was surprisingly unsurprised when I told her why there was a box on the floor in her living room. I named him Louie and my mother dubbed him "Christmalou" because we found him the week of Christmas. After half a day of R&R, Louie became a somewhat dissatisfied with his box-home. I attempted to pet him, and he responded by leaping out of the box. Fortunately we've had years of training in capturing rogue rodents (gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats), so Mom and I cornered him and put him in our old terrarium. There were two holes in the top of the 18-inches-tall terrarium, which I covered loosely with packing tape, assuming there was no way the tiny mouse would be able to jump that high anyway.
FALSE. After two days of not seeing Louie at all after my failed attempt at forced bonding (me and him in an empty bathtub- not a success), I got nervous and started digging around his cage only to find NOTHING. There was, however, a small hole chewed in the packing tape. That little Lou-dini had somehow jumped up, hooked his claws into the lid and chewed his way out. (If you could see the cage, you would know this is seemingly impossible. My theory is that Louie is an escaped lab mouse who underwent experiments that made him smarter and able to leap terrariums in a single bound.)
My family was not happy. We set up some mouse traps (the nice kind, not the kill kind) around the house without much optimism. A few days later, my mother noticed one of the traps had been set off and was surprised to find... Louie!
There was still a lot of snow on the ground (after another dusting), and it was below freezing, so I wasn't quite ready to let Louie go. I put him back in his cage and put thick cardboard over the holes, enforced with Duct Tape.
Two days later... Louie had not been seen in a while. I went to examine his cage, and found that I had been less than thorough in the taping of a third tiny hole, and the little guy had somehow chewed his way out yet again. Mom was most definitely not amused. She kept shouting "THERE'S A MOUSE IN THE HOUSE!" As tempted as I was to make some comment about Dr. Seuss and eating green eggs in a box with a fox, I instead reset the mousetraps and waited.
Just when we thought we would never see Louie again, he somehow got caught AGAIN! (Apparently he enjoys falling into traps as much as he loves escaping from them.) My parents were more adamant that he be released in a timely fashion this time, and I figured if he wanted to escape that badly he was clearly happier to be outside in the cold than inside our house in a glass box.
So we released Louie into the wild, and hopefully he is doing well in this crazy snow storm. And so far I haven't shown any signs of having contracted Rabies, so all in all I call that a win.
You're probably thinking, "What?! She dropped the Day # from her blog titles? Insanity!" I figured since I am no longer at school but on Christmas Vacation there's no need to number the days of my tedious mocking by the Universe. Also I got tired of counting.
As you can see, I managed to survive the semester and probably even passed all my classes. I call that a win. (Not failing is really as close to winning as I ever get in college.) And now the holidays are upon us. (Christmas is probably my favorite thing ever.) Which means I'm constantly trying to maintain my mother's delicate sanity. This is no easy task considering my mom's favorite Christmas figure is the Grinch. But this Friday I took a leave of absence from Mom Watch 2009 to go to a Broadway show with my friends in New York City.
I'm going to be real with you guys: I pretty much hate New York City. And I know there are millions of angry I <3 New Yorkers who would beat me with their half-caf no foam lattes and their 'Friends' DVDs for saying this, but it's the truth. I don't know if you've noticed, but there are people everywhere! This is what happens when you try to fit eight million people in a city the size of a bodega. The minute you step foot into the city you sacrifice all rights to your personal space. "Elbow room" will cost you twelve-hundred dollars a month. Half the people clogging up the streets are tourists. I hate tourists. I know I am one, but that doesn't mean I'm not annoyed by other less with-it tourists who stop abruptly in front of you to take pictures of Times Square. And if the other pedestrians aren't enough to impede your walking, there are three-dollar pretzel carts (three dollars for a pretzel?! Are they serious? I can go to Costco and get a bigger, better pretzel for 89 cents AND have an enormous warehouse in which to enjoy it without being constantly bumped into by angry executives on their way to work) and people trying to get you to buy things like tickets to comedy shows and Obama condoms (that's a true story- there were actually people on street corners selling Obama condoms). And because space is so limited, every eating establishment has tiny, single-stall bathrooms, so even when you're peeing you can't extend your arms to full wing-span.
Using the bathroom in New York City is no easy feat, which explains why the city smells of urine and cynicism. After seeing "The Lion King" on Broadway (which was amazing), my friends and I were attempting to use the bathroom in a McDonald's with very limited success. As my friend tried to enter the tiny closet they call a restroom, a stealthy McDonald's employee cut her off and began cleaning the floor. As soon as the cleaning woman exited the bathroom closet, my friend jumped in there and locked the door. I was next in line, but somehow the cleaning lady boxed me out and went in to finish the job. Meanwhile, the men's room seemed to be quite the hot spot. I watched as a group of young men took turns bringing their duffle bags into the restroom and taking a considerably long time. You just don't see that every day in the suburbs.
There was one nice stranger we met in New York. As we were waiting for our midnight bus, pondering the incoming blizzard that was supposed to hit the East Coast, my friend said, "I never trust the weathermen." Just as she was announcing this, a trio of inebriated young men walked by us, and one stopped to address my friend, stating very firmly, "Me neither!" before stumbling drunkenly onward, narrowly avoiding a large pile of trash. Well said, my new friend. Well said.
Guess who was out of town this weekend. Yup, that would be me. (For those of you keeping track, that's four weekends in the span of five weeks I haven't been at school.) It's hard to compete with last weekend's visit to the Nascar museum, but my mother and I managed to have a pretty exciting weekend in Montross. (If you're wondering where the hell Montross is, you're on the same page as about 98% of the population.) It's rural Virginia. That's pretty much all you need to know. There's a lot of nature there. In fact, when we arrived, there was a large piece of nature waiting for us in the doorway. And by "piece of nature," I mean THERE WAS A BIG-ASS SPIDER ON THE DOOR.
For the record, I'm really not the squeamish type. I've held many an amphibian in my time; I don't have to look away when they cut people open and shit on 'House'; I didn't even throw up during 'Closer.' But there are a few things that I just cannot handle, that make me completely devoid of all reason. Spiders are one of those things. (Also heights and Jude Law.) True story: My brother asked me if my fear of spiders stems from my love of Ron Weasley, who shares that same phobia. (It does not, although that is just another reason Ron and I would be perfect for each other. You know, if he wasn't with Hermione. And fictional.) I don't know how my mother managed to coax me past the Big-Ass Spider into the house, at which point she insisted we leave it alone. Mom: "It's not like it's a Black Widow or anything." Me: "It could be." *Closer inspection of the Big-Ass (black) Spider* Mom: "Huh. It actually might be." YES IT WAS. THERE WAS A BLACK WIDOW SPIDER IN OUR DOORWAY AND I'M SORRY FOR THE CAPS LOCK BUT DO YOU UNDERSTAND IT WAS A BLACK FUCKING WIDOW?! THEY ARE DEADLY. JUST FYI.
Needless to say, I was a little (extremely) panicked, whereas my mother was morbidly fascinated with the Big-Ass Spider. She was all, "Oh, he's beautiful, we can't kill him," making it seem like I was crazy for being paralyzed with fear. EXCUSE ME. It is not irrational to be afraid of something that can KILL YOU. (In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the biological purpose of fear, so suck it.) Anything deadly enough to have a comic book character named after it is definitely okay to be scared of. (Except maybe Ant-Man, but that's not the point.) Especially when said comic book character wears black leather and is played by Scarlett Johansson in the upcoming 'Iron Man 2.'
While Mom mocked my (completely justified) fear, I stood a good distance away and refused to break eye contact with the Big-Ass Spider. (Obviously if I looked away he would sneak away to hide under my sheets and kill me in my sleep.) Mom volunteered to capture the Big-Ass Spider in a glass. I thought this was pretty much the second stupidest idea ever, but she insisted on letting it live and I insisted on letting us live, so that seemed like the only option. Upon attempting to capture the Big-Ass Spider, Mom learned something new about Black Widows: They're fast! (Duh.) She seemed oddly surprised by this fact, as if she expected one of the deadliest spiders in North America to be slow. Eventually, though, Mom managed to trap it in a glass and proceeded to examine it with a flashlight. Black spider with a red hourglass: Survey says... Black Widow. CUE PANIC. (Yours, not mine. I was already panicking. But I hope you can appreciate the gravity of the situation now.)
Mom wanted to release it in our neighbors yard (apparently she has something against the woman next door), but I insisted we walk a safe distance (five miles) from the house before setting the beast free. I voted we throw the glass down on the ground and run away, but Mom seemed pretty determined to keep the glass. (Priorities, woman!) Of course, the Big-Ass Spider had built an extensive web in it by this point and did not wish to leave it, but Mom persuaded it to vacate its new home by shaking it incessantly. (Great plan, make the Big-Ass Spider angry before releasing it.) But TA DAH! We're both still alive, so mission accomplished. And after that initial encounter, Mom only had to capture and release three more insects from the house! And that's the story of how my mother got her new nickname: Liberator of Creepy-Crawlies.
I know, I know: The last time I wrote a blog entry dinosaurs roamed the earth and there were only two Rocky movies. I'm sorry, world, but this whole college thing is really cramping my style. Apparently a big part of college is, like, going to class, and doing reading, and writing papers and stuff. Psh. That was not in the brochure. Anyway, unless you've been living under a rock for the past year (and if you really have been living under a rock, I apologize for the flippant and insensitive comment), you've probably heard of Lady GaGa. (I don't think that's her given name, but I could be wrong. People have named their children stranger things. That's right, I'm talking to you, Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz. Bronx Mowgli? Really? Are you guys in some weird-baby-name competition with Nicole Richie and whichever Madden brother she's with? Because they might have won it with Sparrow James Midnight. Cedward FTW! Just kidding, Mom. Wow, this parentheses deserved its own paragraph.)
Where was I? Oh, right. I was telling the story of how I ended up with a Lady GaGa song on my iPod. If you've ever seen or heard Lady GaGa, you're probably aware that she's... eccentric. At first I just thought she was a lunatic, but I have to say, she's growing on me. At first her little idiosyncrasies (i.e. dressing like she's auditioning for Cirque du Soleil) are a tad off-putting, but then you just kind of wave them off as GaGa being GaGa. You even start to admire her for being so in-your-face. That's exactly the problem. You can't dislike Lady GaGa. Just when you think she's the craziest pop star in history (including Britney in her shaved-head-take-a-baseball-bat-to-your-car phase), you hear one of her songs and you're hypnotized. She slowly melts away your ambivalence with her catchy choruses and peppy dance beats. I'm pretty sure there's some kind of brain-washing involved. All I know is that I was happily apathetic towards Lady GaGa until my mom and I watched her perform on SNL (yeah, that's right- I spend my Saturday nights watching TV with my mom. Jealous?) and the next thing I knew, my mom was saying, "I kinda like her," and downloading "Paparazzi." Suddenly it's GaGa mania, and "Paparazzi" is on repeat in the car and you're singing along and strangers are looking at you funny at stop lights and it won't get out of your head! You're in your bed trying to fall asleep, and all you can think is, "I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me, papa-, paparazzi." (Yes, you read that correctly. It's a stalker song. And a catchy one at that. And the music video has one of those hot vampire guys from 'True Blood.' Gotta love it.) Screw the Swine Flu; Lady GaGa's the one you need to watch out for this winter. She is much more contagious. Once you catch yourself singing "Poker Face" in the shower, you're done. That's all you're gonna be singing for the next six to nine weeks. And anyone who comes in contact with you will surely be exposed. There is no known cure for GaGa-itis. But is that such a bad thing? In conclusion: You go, GaGa. (I mean, really. Who doesn't love a good alliteration?)
Speaking of ecstasy... I overheard an extremely entertaining conversation between two young male students today in the library. I couldn't make out its entirety because I was trying to simultaneously eavesdrop and do my Spanish reading, but the phrases I did overhear sounded like a word bank for Frat Boy Mad Libs: "Banquet of beer," "walked by buck naked," "threw up purple stuff all over the shower," and "hid in the bushes." (Note: I am not making this up.) I wanted to ask exactly how one achieves purple vomit, but I felt like that might be bending the rules of social etiquette. Ah, to be young and uninhibited by self-respect and gag reflexes.